Friday's Three Astros Things

Talking about the Astros in Venezuela, old-school pitching philosophies and the 2015 Astros outfield...

Some things to talk about while Brett Myers gets released...

1) Astros reinvesting in Venezuela

Brian McTaggart has an interesting note that Houstonis going back to Venezuela to try and start up a Parallel League team to develop players it signs out of that country. It'd be Houston's second foray into having an established presence in Venezuela, after it very successfully developed a player pipeline out of there in the '90s.

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said director of international scouting Oz Ocampo has been investigating having a partial or full Astros team in the Parallel League, which is basically the Minor Leagues of Venezuela.

"It's a very competitive league," Luhnow said. "It's probably similar to low A or maybe high A. It's just a good opportunity to continue to develop Venezuelan players, Colombian players, etc. They play something like 60-odd games in the months of October, November and December."

Any players the Astros sign out of Venezuela will play in the winter league season, but the Astros' coaches aren't involved, so the team loses some control. That's why some teams like to have their own parallel league teams.

"We're looking at the options," Luhnow said. "We really want to see what happens with the political environment down there, security environment, before we commit any resources."

More signs that Jim Crane and this team are committed to spend money on development?

2) Old-school pitchers

This is from a couple days ago, but I thought it worth talking about, especially since Houston has a ton of young pitching depth about to hit the majors. Craig Calcaterra takes on the notion that pitchers should be throwing more and are babied these days:

I don't know if pitchers should throw more between starts. Or if we're too soft with some guys who are mechanically sound and suffer no ill effects. Or if pitch counts matter less than innings or matter more. Like I said the other day, I don't think we know much more about how to save a pitcher these days than we ever have and some are gonna get hurt no matter what we do.

But I do know that Moore and the old folks who think like him are just guessing here when they say pitchers should be treated like Mickey Lolich was treated in the 70s, and they're guessing while being willfully blind to the differences in the game of old vs. the game today.

The Astros seem to be taking the cautious approach with its pitchers, sending Erik Bedard to the bullpen when he reached his innings "limit" and shutting down Mark Appel early for similar reasons. I guess that could be controversial. Someone like Bedard certainly didn't take kindly to his demotion.

However, it makes plenty of sense. As Craig says, we are able to diagnose injuries much more effectively now. That should improve the bust rate of young pitching prospects, right? Except pitching is sort of an unnatural human behavior. There may be some attrition rate no matter how cautious teams are. Hence TINSTAAPP.

I think teams are doing it right, being cautious with young arms and trying to maximize health long-term. I'm just not sure we can prove it conclusively for folks like Terrence Moore.

3) 2015 Houston Outfield

In the style of one of our favorite commenters...

Left field: Jacoby Ellsbury

Center field: Colby Rasmus

Right field: Michael Cuddyer

Fourth outfielder: Emilio Bonifacio

Fifth outfielder: Juan Pierre

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